About eight months ago, I attended the first Quitter Conference in Nashville. This event was led by Jon Acuff, author of the book Quitter. Jon was once a serial quitter and went through eight jobs in eight years. It wasn’t until he followed his dream of being a writer and speaker that Jon became truly satisfied in his career.
I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown when I attended the first Quitter Conference. I was stressed, confused, overwhelmed, unfulfilled,and depressed. I found out about the event literally the day before the conference. I called my wife, Kristal, early that Friday morning and said, “I gotta go to this seminar tomorrow.” She immediately replied, “Yeah, you do.”
I remember the conference being funny, informative, and entertaining but the truth is most of it was a bit of a blur. My ears heard the words, but only two key points stood out in my mind: I’m not alone and don’t listen to the voices in my head. Those voices are full of lies. Those two points are the majority of what I took away from the first event. And now I know that is EXACTLY what I needed to hear.
About a month after the conference, I rediscovered some kids’ stories about the guitar I had written a couple years ago. I emailed them to a friend who knows a lot about books and she had a generally positive response. I interpreted it as lukewarm, so I set the work aside as nothing.
After hearing Jon’s presentation at the Quitter Conference, I ignored the voices in my head. I gave up on the myth of perfectionism. Absolutely nothing is perfect. This time I looked at the stories I had written with an open mind. I realized that writing is in fact something I want to pursue. Those kids’ stories made me realize several things: I am creative, and I think I might be a writer.
For about a two-month period I really struggled with calling myself a writer. It was a new identity. It was like I was turning into someone else. Was I Jim, the mild-mannered accountant or was I this new guy who is a writer? Could I be both? Suddenly I felt mysterious and wanted to buy a Moleskine.
I met for coffee with Jeff Goins during this transition time. We chatted for a while about life, church, and just got to know each other. After I built up the courage, I mentioned to Jeff, ‘”So…ummm…I…umm…think……I might..uhhhh…be a writer.” Jeff replied “According to Steven Pressfield, You’re a writer when you say you are.”
That stuck with me. It inspired and motivated me. I began to read and write constantly. I could not stop; the snake had already popped out of the can.
Now, about eight months later, I know that I am a writer. I know I’m creative. I have always been, but I was listening to the voices in my head that fill me up with incessant negative chatter.
Now one of my life goals is to help others find where their passions lie and to encourage them to do great things. I’m sure there are MANY others that are in the same chaotic place I was in last July.
I’d love to hear your story about why you write. Please share it in the comments. Thanks.